Guilt by Zionism: (First person account of anti-Jewish abuse in the UK)

This is a first person essay , published at Israellycool, by Chanan Reitblat, a Jewish student who (earlier in the year, as an undergrad at St. Andrews University in Scotland) was the victim of threatening and abusive behavior due to his support for Israel. 

As world leaders convene at the United Nations General Assembly this week to engage issues of global importance, corrupt dictators such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad come with a more narrow-minded and nefarious purpose: to delegitimize and demonize the only viable democracy in the Middle East – Israel.

Rather than promote peace and stability, he undermines the lofty goals of the United Nations by spreading a message of bigotry, repression, and even Holocaust denial, which morally inverts the foundations of free speech. Most unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s distorted message reverberates beyond the walls of the UN and penetrates the minds of naïve college students.

Rather than rejecting him for the pariah he is, many students and academics propagate his intolerance under the guise of “freedom of speech” and “political debate” and in turn create a university environment in which many students feel intimidated and unsafe.

As a victim of abusive and threatening behavior directed at my Jewish identity and my affiliation with the State of Israel, I have experienced firsthand the vitriol infused “political debate” that pervades even the most prominent universities.

While studying abroad in Scotland earlier this year, another student, a supposed supporter of Palestinian rights, came into my room in the middle of the night. He saw an Israeli flag hanging on my wall.  The sight apparently perturbed him so much that he began screaming that I was a terrorist.  He then physically desecrated my flag in a revolting manner. The following day, apparently still disturbed that “there was a Zionist in his residence hall,” he continued his incitement on Facebook to the point of advocating violence against me. 

I reported the incident to the police and the student was subsequently found guilty of a racially motivated hate crime under Scottish law, which also includes hate crimes based on a person’s nationality or ethnicity, and was expelled from the university. The court sentenced him to 150 hours of unpaid community service and a fine of $600 which was later donated to survivors of the Itamar massacre.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

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